Davenport YMCA employee 'just one of those guys'

QUAD CITY TIMES | NOTES @ NOON | Jack Cullen
Kevin E. Schmidt, QUAD-CITY TIMES
Davenport North YMCA employee Usular "Lewis" Bell, left, talks with members Denise and Willie McNeal Wednesday morning about equipment at the facility. Bell, who underwent a kidney transplant in 2013, has battled a slew of health issues this year and is need of another kidney. To help pay for medical expenses, Kathie Heaps and other members are throwing him a benefit Sunday at the Y off West 53rd Street. Meanwhile, Heaps offered to donate her kidney to Bell, whose cadaver organ is failing.
Whether you frequent the North Family YMCA in Davenport or exercise there once every few weeks, you probably know Mr. Lewis — the smiling man behind the front desk — and he probably knows you.

“How we doing, sunshine?” he asked one member earlier this week as she arrived for her workout.

“Behave yourself today,” he said jokingly to a man on his way out the door.

For those who never have stepped foot in the facility at 624 W. 53rd St., meet Usular Lewis Bell, a part-time employee there whose greetings crack smiles as big as his.

“I like to know everybody that I come in contact with,” said Bell, sporting a pair of red Nike sneakers with a crimson uniform polo to match. “All of us have an interesting story.”

But the 52-year-old Davenport man's story, which has been riddled with health issues requiring medical leave throughout his 13-year career at the YMCA, may soon take another turn. Continue reading
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